14 things I learned as an editor

I’m moving on from my current job as a magazine editor, which I’m excited about but also sad.

Screen shot 2015-05-15 at 20.37.16It’s been a good stint. I’ve learnt so much, experienced things I never thought I would and broken so many of my self-imposed limits. But before I move on, I thought I’d share with you a few things I’ve learnt…

1. As an editor people think I’m much older than I am.

2. People assume I earn a lot more money than I do.

3. Telling people I’m an ‘editor’ feels wrong and messes with my inferiority complex.

4. I’ve learnt you shouldn’t go ‘wow, are you sure?’ when people offer you free things (even if it’s a flight to Lisbon on a private jet) say – ‘I’ll check my diary and get back to you’, even if you don’t have a diary. It reassures them that you’ve got your shit together.

5. At every opportunity, get drunk.

6. Always check exactly who it is you’re interviewing, so you don’t aim all your questions at the marketing girl when the Managing Director of *huge global tech company* is standing beside her, having just flown in from Japan. Also don’t ask him patronising questions about ‘how his flight was and what the time is in Japan right now’ when you’ve finished interviewing everyone but him.

7. Only go to press events that involve canapes or dinner – you don’t want to be bored to death on an empty stomach.

8. Develop a thick skin – there are people in this world who make it their life’s work to point out your every mistake (come to think of it, I think that was supposed to be my job…)

9. When turning up unprepared to a press interview, get out your shorthand notebook and make convincing scribbles, while nodding fervently at anything anyone says. Sometimes you can laugh, but only when someone else laughs.

10. Hold onto any praise you get. Save it in a file. You’ll need it sometimes.

11. Buy a blazer. You’ll look more convincing.

12. Keep calm. Even if your deadlines seems impossible, don’t give into that sick feeling of impending doom. It will only lead to an increase in hobnob consumption and a decrease in productivity.

13. Don’t be afraid of giving up. Sometimes we beat ourselves up about things when actually, it doesn’t matter. An ex-colleague of mine had a really wise saying. “Nobody cares.” It’s true. Nobody cares. If your job is stressing you out, ditch it. Pack it in. Move on. Life’s too short for ‘sticking things out’.

14. For the rest of your life, constantly allude to your days as an editor to make sure people know how big and important you once were. If possible, have all your welcome pages blown up and framed, so you can take all visitors on a 3D tour through your short career. Don’t miss anything out, especially that free trip to Italy.

Published by Zoe

28 years old, trained journalist, professional writer and aspiring novelist. I'm based in the beautiful English town of Eastbourne, I have two guinea pigs who live in my spare room, and I love food. Not cooking it, just eating it. I also like beer and staring out to sea.

One thought on “14 things I learned as an editor

  1. Point 8 is especially important, and not just for people working in the media industry. Anyone doing any type of creative work needs to get ready to be criticized. And while some of this criticism may be constructive and might help you grow, a lot of it is overly negative. Everyone needs to figure out when to take criticism to heart and when to ignore it.

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